In my house, October is the undisputed favorite month of the year and we welcome fall with open arms. The leaves are turning colors, the weather is turning cool and crisp, Oktoberfests and fall seasonal beers abound, bad horror movies are everywhere you turn, and of course, it’s all building up to the best holiday ever: Halloween. It also puts me in the mood to cook hearty stews and bake delicious fall-inspired treats with our old friend, the pumpkin. What’s not to love?
I decided to start a new tradition this year: for each week of October, we will have (at least) one meal and one dessert with pumpkin as an ingredient. We must also try a new fall seasonal beer each week. My husband has deemed this challenge “The Month of the Pumpkin.” I will chronicle our pumpkin exploits each week on the blog and share recipes for what will hopefully be some new and delicious goodies!
I was off to a great start, I had done some searching and discovered quite a few tempting recipes. We had our first meal, Penne Wise Pumpkin Pasta, and it was delicious. We followed that up with some Magic Hat Hex Ourtoberfest beer, and I was all ready to make our first dessert that weekend. To make a long story short, my car “broke down” and a major fiasco ensued. (To my embarrassment, it turned out to only be a dead battery.) In an attempt to show my gratitude to all the kind people who came to my aid, I decided to kill two birds with one stone and bake them pumpkin-y desserts. Well, one of my rescuers didn’t like pumpkin- he wanted peanut butter- so alas, my plan was thwarted and I had to make peanut butter cookies. Epic fail for the first week of the Month of the Pumpkin Challenge? Fear not my friends, I shall continue on undaunted!
Week one entrée: Penne Wise Pumpkin Pasta ( from foodnetwork.com, with our minor adaptations)
- 1 pound whole-wheat penne
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 shallots, finely chopped
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, grated
- 2 cups chicken stock *we used vegetable stock*
- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup cream *we used whole milk*
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce, to taste *we used 2 tbsp*
- Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
- 2 pinches ground cinnamon
- Salt and black pepper
- 7 to 8 leaves fresh sage, thinly sliced plus more, for garnish * we used 1/2 tbsp dried sage*
- Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Heat water for pasta, salt it and cook penne to al dente.
Heat the oil, 2 turns of the pan, over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic to the pan, saute 3 minutes. Stir in chicken stock and combine with pumpkin, stir in cream then season sauce with hot sauce, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer 5 to 6 minutes more to thicken. Stir in sage, toss with pasta with grated cheese, to taste.
It was quite tasty and look how easy it is! It literally takes 20 minutes max to put together. The sauce is orange and you expect a strong pumpkin flavor, but it is very understated so I think this would be a good recipe to put any reluctant pumpkin-eaters at ease.
Week one dessert: er…peanut butter cookies… next question…
Week one fall seasonal beer: Magic Hat Hex Ourtoberfest
Now I’m off to work on one of the many Halloween costumes I am responsible for this year. Stay tuned for more tasty morsels during Week 2!